James Arthur Morgan b. 1891 Scandia, Kansas - d. 1930(?): Looking for info on family.

+3 votes
James Arthur Morgan is my great-grandfather. We know very little about him, because he supposedly died when my grandfather was only ten. He was apparently a bit of a sketchy character, moved constantly, hung around with gangsters, cheated on his wife, etc.

Here is what I definitely know:

* James Arthur Morgan was born January 8, 1891 in Scandia, Kansas.

* His father was from England, and his mother was from either Iowa or Ohio (probably Iowa).

* He married Arnettie Anne Mayes on May 30, 1909 at her father's house in St. Johns, Multnomah, Oregon (now part of Portland).

* They had five children: Francis Irene (b.11/27/1910, St. Johns, Multnomah, Oregon); Ona May (b. 1/24/1912, Culver, Crook, Oregon); Bessie Lucille (b. 3/5/1913, Haycreek, Jefferson, Oregon); Stella Margarette (b.3/17/1916 Camas, Clark, Washington); James Wordon (b. 6/27/1920 Vancouver, Clark, Washington).

Sources: WWI Draft Registration Card, Multnomah County Marriage Records, 1910 US Census, 1920 US Census, 1930 US Census.

Here is what I think I know (and why I believe it):

I believe James had two sisters, named Stella and Francis. I believe that his father's name was also James Arthur Morgan, and his mother's name may have been Hannah Rouse. I believe that his parents (and possibly his sister Francis) died when he was very young, and he and his sister Stella went to live with an aunt.

* I found a census record from 1900 US Census (Fairview/Walnut, Brown, Kansas) for a James A. and Stella I. Morgan, living in the household of Cornelius Fannen, and his housekeeper May H. Harrison. They are listed as "nephew" and "neice", but it is unclear whether they are the neice and nephew of Cornelius Fannen, or May H. Harrison. The birth date listed for James A. is January 1891. Birth place is listed as Kansas. Father's birth place is listed as England, and mother's birth place is listed as Iowa (which would correspond with other census records that I know for a fact belong to him). Since they are listed under May's name, I'm assuming they are her neice and nephew, and not Cornelius'.

* I found an 1895 Kansas State Census record for Scandia, Kansas, listing an Artur Morgan, 4 years old, living with an HC (male) and MH (female) Morgan, as well as a Stela (female), and Francis (female) Morgan (ages 9 and 7, respectively). Birth places for all of the children are Kansas. Birth place for HC is Ohio. Birth place for MH is Iowa. I also found HC and Mary H. Morgan on the 1885 Kansas State census, also in Scandia. It would make sense for James to be going by his middle name, if he was named after his father (see next point for why I believe he was named after his father). My grandfather was actually called "Ward" (a shortening of his middle name) by his mother and sisters, because he was named after his father. I'm also very curious whether the M(ary) H Morgan in the 1885/1895 Kansas Census records is same person as the widowed "May H. Harrison" in the 1900 US Census. Primarily because the first two initials, and the birth years are similar (though not exact), and the birth place is Iowa, same as James A. Morgan's mother on other census records.

* I found the death certificate for Stella (Morgan) Bailey, who I believe is the sister of James Arthur Morgan. On her death certificate, it lists her parents as James A. Morgan (born in England) and Hannah Rouse (born in Kansas). It lists her birth date as November 1884, which admittedly is a year off from the birth date on the 1900 census (however, the 4 has been typed over the year, which was originally hand-written, and looks like it might have originally been 1885, not 1884). It also lists her birth place as "Scanclia", Kansas. There is no such place as "Scanclia", Kansas. However, I think that "Scanclia" is someone typing up a poorly hand-written "Scandia", maybe from a hand-written birth certificate or other document, as a poorly written cursive "d" could easily be mistaken for a "c-l". I also know my grandfather was living in Phoenix, Arizona in 1940 (per information from my mother), the same city Stella Bailey died in 1941. Not really proof of anything, more of an interesting coincidence, since he had no other dies to Phoenix as far as I know. Also, even though Hannah Rouse is the name listed for Stella's mother, the birth place is listed as Kansas, which would not correspond to all of the information I know about James A. Morgan's mother.

While none of this is conclusive, it is a lot of convincing circumstantial evidence. Since I know that they named two of their children (Ona May and Bessie Lucille) after Arnettie's mother and sister, and James Wordon was named after James Arthur, it would make sense that their other two daughters (Stella and Francis) would be named after James' two sisters.

Unfortunately, I have yet to find a birth record or for James, nor can I find any conclusive record of whether he had sisters, or what his parents names were. I've contacted the Scandia Library, as well as the Republic County courthouse, but they couldn't find anything. Unfortunately, the State of Kansas did not require birth certificates to be filed until 1911. There was also a fairly devastating fire for the courthouse in the early 1900s that would have probably taken out the birth records, even if they had been filed.

If MH Morgan and May H. Harrison are the same person, who is HC Morgan? He seems too old to be MH Morgan's husband. It cannot be the father or grandfather, since the father is from England. I've often wondered if the people on the 1885/1895 Kansas state censuses are not my family at all, and I'm just grasping at straws. However, Scandia is a very small town (even now, the population is only about 400), so a bunch of unrelated Morgans in the same little Swedish immigrant town seems odd to me for some reason.

I also don't really know exactly when or where he died. He appears in the 1930 Census, but 1930 was supposedly also the year he died. My grandfather was told that his father had died when he was ten. But to the best of my knowledge, he never attended a funeral for his father. Family rumor is that my great-grandfather abandoned my great-grandmother and five children, took up with a married woman, and was shot to death by his mistress' husband. However, I've never found anything to prove that, and often wonder if he just took off one day, and that was what his angry wife told the family.
WikiTree profile: James Morgan
in Genealogy Help by Heather Brown G2G4 (4.0k points)

1 Answer

0 votes
Heather:      There is a City Scandia, in Republic County Kansas.
by Wayne Morgan G2G6 Pilot (922k points)
Yes, though I believe that Heather is correct, in that there is no Scanclia in Kansas (It does look like a common mispelling for Scandia)

Hi, Wayne. :-)

Yes, I addressed that in one of my notes above:

"However, I think that 'Scanclia' is someone typing up a poorly hand-written 'Scandia', maybe from a hand-written birth certificate or other document, as a poorly written cursive 'd' could easily be mistaken for a 'c-l'."

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